Bud Olson, Wisconsin NAFA Manager of The Year

Written by Bob on May 8th, 2017

Bud Olson, left, was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2014 and was presented by NAFA Vice President Mike Watson (2015 NAFA Hall of Famer). Photo By BOB OTTO

LA CROSSE, Wisc. – Most managers are quick to down play their contribution when their team has a winning season.

They usually spin it like, “I was fortunate to have great players,” or “we played well together,” or “we had good leadership on the field,” or “everybody knew their job and went out and did it.”

You get the point. Taking credit for winning is not in most manager’s character. And that includes Bud Olson of La Crosse Animal House, who was selected Wisconsin NAFA 2016 Manager of The Year.

“Over the years, I’ve learned managing is easier when you get runs and your pitcher shuts them down,” said Olson, 72. “It takes good players and I’ve been very fortunate to have players that have stayed around a long time.”

Wisconsin leads the nation in men’s fastpitch team numbers at around 130. And NAFA is the leading organization within the state; it can count on Olson bringing a team to the NAFA World Series and to the NAFA masters tournaments each and every year.

Along with this year’s NAFA award, Olson was inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame in 2014, and he’s a Wisconsin ASA Hall of Famer as well.

So the man knows how to manage a fastpitch team.

Olson’s managerial career began as a 16-year-old when he captained and managed the his 4-H team. However, he was an outstanding player for over 30 years. Then in his fifties, with his body starting to betray him, he stepped into the leadership role, and for over 20 years, he’s led ball club after ball club each and every summer.

“When my vision (became) impaired and my knees were shot I began to look for other options to stay around the game,” he said. “I taught school for 36 years, so sponsoring a team was not an (affordable) option. So I became a manager.”

And one of Wisconsin’s best as the NAFA award attests. It’s also the second time he’s been so honored after being named manager of the year in 1999.

“It’s an award given to teams that had an outstanding year,” he said, in an attempt to downplay his contribution.

Olson has about 1300 career wins with 2015 his best year with a 57-17 record.

“Two things add up if you play a long time, wins and losses,” he said. “It’s the same thing with managing. A great friend and former teammate, Bob Moore, shared an experience with me years ago. He was being nominated for the ASA Hall of Fame and was asked to provide statistics of his accomplishments. He was surprised and embarrassed with how many career losses he had. Someday, when I have time, I might add up the losses, but I’m not in a hurry to do that yet.”

    WISCONSIN NAFA HONOREES

Wisconsin NAFA Player of the Year, Pitcher of The Year, Manager of The Year

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